If Barack Obama’s campaign slogan is “It could have been worse,” Mitt Romney’s seems to be “It won’t be as bad.” Mitt Romney’s comment on Meet the Press about maintaining ‘guaranteed issue’ in his ‘repeal and replace’ health plan means there will be no repealing and far less replacing. When combined with comments about his opposition to tax cuts which will effectively raise the net tax burden for many, they reinforce an aversion to free market solutions that causes many conservatives to cringe when faced with the prospect of supporting his candidacy.
What Mitt Romney fails to acknowledge or perhaps does not understand is that ‘guaranteed issue’ is the reason why health insurance premiums are dramatically higher in liberal northeastern states like Massachusetts than they are in the rest of the country. “Guaranteed issue’ provides that an insurance company must issue a policy no matter the health of the applicant. What it guarantees is that healthy people wait until they become sick before applying for coverage. Consequently, ‘guaranteed issue’ forces insurance companies to assume that each new policy applicant has cancer and price coverage accordingly in order to ensure that they have sufficient capital to pay anticipated claims. Imagine if insurance companies priced homeowners insurance as if every house was located in a flood zone, or automobile insurance as if every driver had a history of alcohol abuse and reckless driving. While Mitt Romney may feel empathy for people who are born with expensive illnesses, they comprise a sliver of the population and their coverage requirements can be dealt with in much more cost effect ways.
In addition, Mitt Romney expressed an interest in maintaining the provision that children be allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy, as he put it, “up to whatever age they might like.” Does Mitt Romney envision maintaining his 60 year-old children on his health insurance policy when he reaches 80 years of age? This is hardly the warm embrace of free market solutions he spoke of in his convention acceptance speech.
Further, Mitt Romney added,
“I can tell you that people at the high end, high-income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions. Those numbers are going to come down. Otherwise they’d get a tax break. And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high-income taxpayers.”
During the tax debate that occurred after the 2010 midterm elections, Congressional Republicans proudly reminded us that raising taxes on high-income taxpayers would be raising taxes on the small businesses that are the engine of economic growth in America. Mitt Romney is proposing that Congressional Republicans break their pledge to small business. By reducing federal income tax rates but not by an amount sufficient to account for the elimination of deductions for state and local taxes as well as mortgage interest, Mitt Romney will ask Congressional Republicans to reverse the pledge they made to small business not to raise their taxes. Further, if Mitt Romney was a true free marketeer, he would join the rest of the Republican party and the conservative movement and endorse a flat tax or at the very least, a significant flattening of the Internal Revenue Code similar to what was proposed in the House budget offered by his running mate.
By reversing course and endorsing parts of Obamacare, Mitt Romney is running the campaign Barack Obama should have run by saying he and Mitt Romney are not so different after all. Barack Obama will become the first American President to preside over a net job loss and yet he is LEADING most swing state polls. This is not because voters mistrust Mitt Romney because he is a rich guy who does not understand their struggles. It is because voters do not trust that Mitt Romney has values that are inviolable. Repealing Obamacare is not an applause line to the conservative movement that manufactured a 60 seat swing in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. It is our raison d’etre! We do not want Massachusetts liberalism to infest conservatism and reverse the accomplishments we fought so hard for.
To paraphrase a biblical story, Moses smashed the tablets when he came down from Mt Sinai because his people were not prepared to receive them and were thus relegated to forty years wandering the desert. I worry that unless Mitt Romney reverses course relinquishing his embrace of Obamacare and tax hikes, the American people may be in for four more years of wandering.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) September 12, 2012
In the wake of being pummeled by ads depicting him as a heartless robber baron who leaves cancer-stricken women to die, Mitt Romney unveiled his VP selection on a Saturday morning at 9am on the final weekend of the Olympic Games. This was not only an effort to stem the tide of negative news coverage, but also an effort to allay conservative fears reignited by remarks made by his press secretary defending Romneycare. Lest anyone forget, in answer to an ad accusing Mitt Romney of killing a cancer-stricken woman several years after she left her job at a Bain Capital owned plant, Mitt Romney’s press secretary stated,
“To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care.”
In other words according to Mitt Romney’s chief spokesperson just last week, if this woman had been living under socialized medicine in Massachusetts, she would have been fine. It is only because she lived in one of the 49 states without socialized medicine that she dropped dead!
In an effort to allay some of those conservative fears, Mitt Romney nominated House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his running mate. As the author of the House Budget Plan, Paul Ryan is the face of Republican efforts to reform entitlement programs and create a more growth oriented economic environment. Mind you, the House Budget Plan does not endorse the Cut, Cap and Balance approach promoted by the House Republican Study Committee. In fact, the House Budget Plan does not endorse a balanced budget amendment at all preferring to balance the federal budget slowly over time, over the next 28 years. That aside, by nominating Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney demonstrated he intends to make reforming entitlements and promoting economic growth the centerpiece of his fall campaign.
In picking Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has overlooked one key area of disagreement between the two, tax policy. Mitt Romney’s tax plan favors an across the board rate cut maintaining the “progressivity” of the Internal Revenue Code, Mitt Romney’s word and a funny one for someone seeking to convince Republican voters of his conservative bona fides. The House Budget Plan by contrast, favors a flattening of the Internal Revenue Code to two individual rates and a significant tax simplification effort. Mitt Romney favors no such effort with the exception of a willingness to phase out or eliminate deductions for mortgage interest and state and local taxes for taxpayers in the upper income brackets. The problem with the Romney approach is that he does not favor a rate reduction that will equal or exceed the phase-out thus INCREASING the net tax liability of small business owners in the upper income brackets that the ENTIRE GOP Congressional caucus pledged to protect.
Before Mitt Romney announced his VP pick, President Obama launched a character assassination calling Mitt Romney a ‘Reverse Robin Hood,’ stealing from the poor to give tax breaks to the rich. Ignoring the Marxist assumption that it is “stealing” money from low income earners and the federal government money if higher income earners are not taxed as heavily, Mitt Romney would do well to negate this political narrative by endorsing a flat tax that goes beyond the House Budget Committee proposal and is completely flat and independent of income source and taxpayer status. This proposal would tax all income at one rate, no matter the source or status of the taxpayer. It would be hard to argue Mitt Romney is a ‘Reverse Robin Hood’ in such an environment. If you make more, you pay more but you are not penalized for making more. Further, such a proposal would eliminate the negative economic incentives the Internal Revenue Code provides by directing economic activity to tax-advantaged enterprises. Also, such a proposal would eliminate the cudgel legislators wield over taxpayers for directing tax policy. In one instance, tax revenue rose by nearly 80% over a three year period in the early 2000’s when Russia implemented a flat tax. Not only is a flat tax good politics, it is good policy as well.
When the excitement of the VP announcement dies down and the political conventions are over, Mitt Romney will have to combat the same character assassinations that were haranguing him prior to the announcement. On July 31st in Texas, an insurgent grassroots Tea Party candidate shocked the political establishment beating a sitting Lt Governor for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. The Lt Governor was a $20 million self-funded candidate in his fourteenth year of elected office. Yet in the span of two short months, Ted Cruz turned a 150,000 vote deficit after the initial primary into a 150,000 vote win after the runoff election representing a nearly 30% vote swing. He did it by embracing the grassroots, attending over forty Tea Party forums across the state and engaging voters at every opportunity. When the Lt Governor embraced his inner Obama accusing Ted Cruz of being responsible for the suicide of young man, a character assassination similar to the ones Mitt Romney is now facing, voters were in a position to give Ted Cruz the benefit of the doubt. This was not merely because of the ridiculousness of the charge, but also because voters knew Ted Cruz since he had made himself accessible to them. Republican strategists might be quick to dismiss the Cruz win as one of a conservative candidate in a conservative state. After all, the saying goes that Presidential elections are won and lost fighting for “moderate” votes. Yet according to a Yankee Institute survey, a whopping 70% of true blue Connecticut voters support cutting spending without raising taxes. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker survived a recall vote with a 10% margin of victory after signing legislation ending forced unionization. Over 60% of Connecticut voters favor the abolition of teachers unions according to the same Yankee Institute survey.
Mitt Romney needs to leave his Boston Brahmin liberal elitism in Taxachusetts and embrace the conservative values that are held dear by Paul Ryan and represent the core of the Republican Party. Mitt Romney needs to propose policy initiatives that move him closer to Paul Ryan and not use his VP pick as conservative window dressing. Mitt Romney should not shun conservative voters. We are hard working Americans who, after the federal government has racked up $16 TRILLION in debt, have had enough. Win our hearts and minds and the rest will follow. Need proof? Ask Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan!
What makes Americans different from citizens of other nations? Though we are a multicultural multiethnic society, we value freedom above all else. It is what brought my ancestors escaping religious persecution in Eastern Europe a century ago, it is what brought Ted Cruz’s father escaping political persecution in Castro’s Cuba, and it is what caused our nation’s Founding Fathers to declare their independence from King George more than two centuries earlier.
A thirst for freedom is what binds Americans. It is that very freedom that is under assault today. Freedom is under assault by the Alinskyites in the White House and their allies in Congress. Freedom is under assault by the Supreme Court which declared the federal government had unlimited power to coerce behavior through taxation. Freedom is under assault as well by some in the so-called opposition in Washington. Those with the power to fight but who stand idly by while the Left runs roughshod over our freedom are equally culpable. Without a willingness to fight for freedom by those in position to do so, we might as well kiss our freedom goodbye. It is because the Republican Party has seen fit to nominate an individual for President whose willingness to fight for liberty is questionable at best, that we need to ensure that we elect Representatives and Senators like Ted Cruz who have demonstrated a passion to fight for liberty and preserve our freedom.
Mitt Romney is at best, politely, a squishy Republican. Romney skewered Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry for “having a heart” on immigration during the primary campaign. Since then, Romney has backtracked his strong support for border enforcement and enforcing existing immigration law in response to President Obama’s grant of amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. This must be Mitt Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch at work that his advisor spoke so proudly of.
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Obamatax ruling, Mitt Romney pledged repeal claiming the law to be “bad policy”. A number of Republican Congressional candidates have released statements professing “respectful disagreement” with the Court’s ruling. Since then, Romney has refused to call the Obamacare mandate a tax worrying that Democrats will label his Romneycare mandate a tax. Mitt Romney defended the virtue of the Massachusetts health insurance mandate during the 2008 Presidential campaign. During the 2012 primary season, Romney continued to defend Romneycare as a product of state sovereignty. Without defending the virtue of implementing his plan in Massachusetts, Romney merely stated that it was Massachusetts’ prerogative to do so. While swearing his fidelity to full repeal of Obamatax, Romney claimed as late as December, 2011 that he would “keep the good parts” and “repeal the bad parts” of Obamatax. Not a full week after the Supreme Court ruling and after collecting over $4 million in online donations, Team Romney seeks to declare a “cease fire” in the fight over Obamatax.
Obamatax is not merely “bad policy,” it is an affront to personal liberty! Like Romneytax, Obamatax injects the government in private health decisions. Like Romneytax, Obamatax subordinates the free exercise of religion placing the state’s interest above that of citizens and religious institutions. Like Romneytax, costs will inevitably skyrocket and rationing will inevitably occur. Both Obamatax and Romneytax are not just “bad policy”, they are an affront to liberty! Rather than admit that he made a mistake in Massachusetts that he does not want to revisit on the nation, Romney gets weighed down in the semantics of whether his policy is a tax and clings stubbornly to his argument that Massachusetts has the sovereignty to make its own choices. While technically that may be true, Romney has never been asked to defend why his plan was a good idea for Massachusetts while it would have been a bad one for a neighboring state.
Further, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell jumped into the fray by stating his belief that Obamatax would be difficult to repeal. While that may be true as a technical matter, there was no sentence that followed indicating that the job would be made much easier by electing strong Constitutional conservatives to the U.S. Senate like Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz has demonstrated a passion for taking on the GOP establishment and has pledged to fight to repeal “every syllable of every word” of Obamatax. It is because of the prospect of a President Romney and Majority Leader McConnell that it is vitally important to elect a committed fighter like Ted Cruz to the U.S. Senate.
Further, while Republicans talk a good game regarding limiting the size and scope of the federal government, they have done neither despite winning the largest Congressional victory in the history of our Republic in 2010. While it is impossible to know with certainty how Senator Ted Cruz would legislate, given his enjoyment for challenging members of his own party and the irrepressible effort he has shown engaging grassroots conservative Tea Party groups, Ted Cruz would be less likely to fall prey to the seductress that is Washington, DC tax and spend culture.
Finally, there is the issue of tax policy. Under immense pressure to craft a tax reform plan and having failed to do so to that point, Mitt Romney released his tax reform plan during the runup to the Michigan primary. Unlike the plans of every other Republican Presidential candidate, the House budget plan crafted by Paul Ryan which Mitt Romney claims to endorse, and the budget plan released by the Republican Study Committee, Mitt Romney’s plan preserves the progressive nature of the Internal Revenue Code. While the entire Republican Party was moving toward a flatter tax code that removed preferences for directed economic activity, Mitt Romney is intent on preserving the Internal Revenue Code to the greatest degree possible.
Mitt Romney proposed an across the board 20% rate cut in order to preserve the “progressivity” of the code, Mitt’s word and a funny one for someone claiming to be a conservative. While 20% seems like a large cut, that is in fact only a 7% cut at most as 20% of the highest income bracket is 7%. Unfortunately, this is another area where Mitt Romney proves he is not a conservative. Most conservatives justify the lowering and flattening of the Internal Revenue Code as a way to stimulate economic growth believing that some cuts will pay for themselves as more income is earned and more net tax is paid as a result. History has proven conservatives correct. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney chooses not to believe history and instead offers to “pay” for his tax cuts by lowering or eliminating the deductions for mortgage interest and state and local income and property taxes. Ignoring that the deduction for state and local income and property tax was established to prevent the DOUBLE TAXATION on income by both the state and federal governments, and further ignoring that reducing or eliminating the deduction for mortgage interest would destroy an already severely depressed housing market as home values would plummet since potential buyers would be unable to deduct their mortgage interest, most states and municipalities exact an aggregate tax that is higher than 7%. In other words, what Mitt Romney would give with one hand and take away with the other would result in a net tax INCREASE for many Americans. Even if the increase affected a small segment of the population at the upper end of the income scale, Republicans have gone on record stating their opposition to a tax increase on anyone because the upper end of the income scale includes many small business owners. In other words, Mitt Romney would be asking Republican Congressional legislators to go back on their pledge not to raise taxes on small business. This is yet another reason why it is important to elect conservative fighters who are opposed to tax increases and will fight members of their own party including a newly elected President who try and impose one through the backdoor.
While I intend to vote for Mitt Romney as President Obama has set the bar so low by demonstrating his fidelity to imposing his Marxist vision on the United States, Mitt Romney has demonstrated that he is hardly the champion of liberty that the conservative movement, which swept Republicans into office in record numbers in 2010, hungers for. Consequently, it is more important than ever to elect Representatives and Senators like Ted Cruz who will hold a President Romney’s feet to the fire. Ted cannot do it alone. He needs the help of Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Josh Mandel in Ohio, Don Stenberg in Nebraska, Zach Poskevich in Tennessee and many others. As Ted Cruz has said, “liberty is never safer than when politicians are scared.” Without men like Ted Cruz, Katie bar the door!
“I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said, adding that he would also likely eliminate deductions for state income and property taxes as well.
“By virtue of doing that, we’ll get the same tax revenue, but we’ll have lower rates,” Romney explained.
That would be true if state and local income and property taxes averaged less than the 7% Romney has pledged to lower federal income tax rates. By reducing federal income tax rates by no more than 7% and eliminating a deduction that is greater than 7%, Mitt Romney will effectively raise an individual’s net tax obligation.
“I am going to lower rates across the board for all Americans by 20%. And in order to limit any impact on the deficit, because I do not want to add to the deficit, and also in order to make sure we continue to have progressivity as we’ve had in the past in our code, I’m going to limit the deductions and exemptions particularly for high income folks. And by the way, I want to make sure you understand that, for middle income families, the deductibility of home mortgage interest and charitable contributions will continue. But for high income folks, we are going to cut back on that, so we make sure the top 1% pay their fair share or more.”
If elected president, Mitt Romney might consider ending a tax break that helped the former Massachusetts governor accumulate his fortune, an aide suggested Tuesday. The comments came as the Romney campaign made available more than 500 pages of tax-return data for 2010 and 2011 amid signs the issue was hurting him with some voters.